Opinion: 15 seconds of fame — 15 minutes of shame



Andrew Paulsen

Andrew Paulsen

Andrew Paulsen is a senior electronic media production major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].

It’s amazing how quickly breaking news spreads and how fast people come up with jokes to accompany that news. Even more fascinating is how quickly stories become annoying and current event humor tires due to the over-saturation of news-centric satire.

Take hologram Tupac for example.

Two weeks ago, late night TV had a field day with the deceased rapper’s Coachella performance, but if I were to make a joke about Tupac now…

Passé. Blasé. Cliché.

Yeah, the time’s up on Tupac. Everyone’s already beaten that material to death. It’s stale and no one wants to be bugged by another outdated Photoshopped image or YouTube link in his or her Facebook feed. If I could attribute this joke burnout to anything, it would be the advent of the Internet meme. Since memes spread so quickly through social media, jokes burn twice as bright but only half as long.

Today, five days after that one College Avenue block party, I have a feeling pretty much everyone on campus is tired of the phrase “College Fest Riots” and anything to do with that notorious Saturday.

And unfortunately, it pains me to say that one of my favorite photos from the day is nearing meme heaven or hell.

I think you have an idea of the photo I’m talking about: the infamous Cone-y 2012.

The reason I said unfortunately is because I love it. I’ll leave the student’s name out of this article, but the guy who decided that in a time of danger he should seek shelter under a construction barrel is a comic genius.

No sarcasm there; the guy is brilliant whether he was trying to be or not.

I am very thankful that photographer Matt Unger was standing where he was when Cone-y suited up in orange plastic armor in the midst of chaos and teargas. I’d say that picture is going to go down in history as one of the most iconic images of Kent State alongside the May 4 shooting photographs. Coincidentally, someone has already edited Cone-y 2012 into May 4 photographs just in time for the 52nd remembrance next Friday.

Some might say that such Photoshoppery is disrespectful or even sacrilegious (if you’re Alan Canfora), but I think that the association of student unrest — no matter how worthy or illegitimate the cause — will forever link the two.

But back to the theme of meme monotony, I’ve paid attention to Kent State status updates and tweets about Cone-y and College Fest and the consensus is that it’s on its way out. Which is disappointing to me because I wish it would replace Kony 2012 entirely — that’s a column for another day though.

One thing I can guarantee though, construction barrels will never be the same for any of us. Anytime you pass through an ODOT road project this summer or the rest of your life, you’ll be reminded of April 21, 2012 whether you like it or not.